Research abuses have occurred in the past, and these types of abuses are still occurring today. Research abuse is viewed as the misrepresentation of study findings. Such abuse is attributable to willingness, dishonesty, accidents, partisan orientations, politics, bias, ignorance or carelessness (Stankovic, 2004). Research seeks evidence on issues. Sometimes, research might replace questions with higher degrees of certainty based on evidence. If a research claims more evidence than the study offers, then research abuse occurs. The common ways of abusing research are listed below. They include: flawed research, stretching findings, use of finding/results out of context, ignoring findings and distorting findings (Stankovic, 2004).
Research is flawed if its design and execution fails to meet the ethical and professional standards (Stankovic, 2004). Hence, it is necessary to understand the tenets of research methodology as this is useful in analyzing findings. To avoid research abuse, research aims should be explained properly, the methodology must be set clearly, literature review must be up-to-date, among other things. Moreover, the conclusions made must be supported by evidence.
The question of ethics is perhaps among those concerns that every facet of the society has to grapple with. Research must be conducted within certain precincts. In this regard, ethics play a significant role. In practice, ethics offer guidelines regarding how for instance, subjects of research are to be selected and how study findings should be used. In regards to the issue of using subjects, there is a demand that the subjects must be informed. The question here borders on getting informed consent. A research should proceed only upon informing and requesting subjects or potential respondents about the intended study. However, this is not always the case as researchers disregard the worth of their subjects. A specific example is the Tuskegee (a study where male subjects were recruited into a study without the correct information) research reflected, subjects might be misinformed or given false information about a study. In the latter case, the issue gravitates around how the findings are shared or the purpose for the study. Ideally, researchers must inform the subjects the intention of the study. Thus, issues of research abuse continue to affect the scholarship community.
Respect for science must encompass the recognition for boundaries (Broad & Wade, 1982). For instance, the question of reliability has often been contested. On the one hand, some observers argue that researchers tend to over-rely on their results despite the notion that a big percentage of studies are premised on several assumptions. Moreover, the tendency to use results as a dependable guide is endemic (Broad & Wade, 1982). Ideally, research findings are supposed to be consulted instead of being employed as a sole guide. The implication of this point is that conclusions might be informed by studies without being determined wholly by them. This aspect of using research findings as a sole guide has gained prevalence in the current times. For instance, commercial organizations have placed much emphasis on consumer research which they often apply to their decision-making.
Research findings are said to be stretched when study findings are given more significance than the deserved one (Broad & Wade, 1982). Although stretching of findings could be intentional, in other respects is could be accidental. Researchers often have their expectations based on various aspects such as background, biases or prejudices. Consequently, the researchers could be inclined to highlight results in a manner that confirms what they want. For instance, when commercial agencies commission studies, they often have certain goals that they want to achieve. As a result, the researchers who could remain keen to be retained for future assignments are predisposed to present study findings in a manner that pleases the entities involved. The implication is that other important findings are given a lesser focus as interested parties’ interests dominate. This aspect of bias or undue influence based on the background of a researcher has affected the scientific discourse for a long time. Although measures have been made to reduce the effects of bias, the absence of a declassed group of researchers makes it difficult to conduct objective research. It should however be noted that research is subject to review by a group of scholars or peers (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 2010). Consequently, research reliability and validity can be tested. A specific example is a study conducted by the National Literacy Panel which was commissioned by the Bush administration. The study was rejected because peers could not approve it. The study had concluded that bilingual education was advanced than an English-only approach.
Another serious aspect that demonstrates the abuse of research is the application of the findings out of context. This concern is rampant in social projects where efficacy of projects is often considered. Whenever results are given, yet the application of the same methodology fails to replicate results, several questions emerge (Kochan & Budd, 1992). Furthermore, success of a scheme in a certain area does not imply that the application of the same could give similar or same results in another region. However, researchers often ignore this aspect by tending to assume that the findings apply to every region. This is an ancient practice that continues to date. However, progress continues to be made in an attempt to lower the application of research findings out of context. For instance, when generalizing, there is a requirement that the studied sample be representative of a population. It is only when a sample is representative of the population that researchers are allowed to generalize. Consequently, the question of application of findings out of context has considerably been reduced.
My position which cannot be swayed is that research abuse continues to the present times. The primary reason is based on prejudices, biases, backgrounds, among other aspects. The supposition that research is subject to peers does not prevent researchers from publishing findings which are questionable. Furthermore, peers have their biases too. In brief, there is no class of people that has no background, an attribute that shapes the views of researchers.
Research abuse is an ancient issue that continues to manifest itself. There are various instances when researchers have abused their privileges of studying. At another level, research has failed to adhere to ethical requirements. Although any form of abuse is unacceptable, researchers continue to undermine science through various forms of misconduct. Ethics, research boundaries, researcher backgrounds, biases and prejudices are some of the issues that undermine the proper use of research.